You May Now Need A Subscription To Use Self-Checkout Machines At Stores

Photo: Courtesy of

It looks like major retail chains such as Walmart and Target are considering restrictions on who can use their self-checkout lanes.

According to TODAY, some shoppers have noticed that Walmart has closed off some of its self-checkout lanes recently. This change seems to indicate a possible new policy about who can use these self-service checkout machines.

Customer Reactions

“This is the second time this week that I’ve gone to Walmart, and this is a different Walmart, and it’s been right about this time, and all their self-checkouts are closed and they’ve started to open up the regular lines again,” according to one TikTok user.


looks like the rumors might be true. #walmart #selfcheckout #denver #shopping #ihateselfcheckout #walmartreceipts

♬ original sound – The Lingerers

One Reddit user even shared a photo showing a Walmart sign seemingly reserving self-checkout lanes for certain shoppers, with a message reading, “Attention: This self-checkout is for Spark shoppers and Walmart Scan & Go only.”

Walmart Scan & Go is exclusively accessible to Walmart+ members, who subscribe to the paid service. This subscription-based program offers members various benefits, including the convenience of using Scan & Go technology for expedited checkout processes.

Walmart’s Response

Kelsey Bohl, senior manager of corporate communications at Walmart, confirmed that customers at specific Walmart stores might indeed observe modifications to the self-checkout lanes.

“From time to time, our stores adjust the use of staffed checkouts and self-checkouts. For example, a store might start or end the day with staffed checkouts. As the number of shoppers and associate staffing increases, these stores open self-checkout registers to manage the increased customer flow. This process isn’t new,” Bohl expressed in a statement.

She further explained that during periods of restricted access, certain Walmart stores might allocate specific self-checkout lanes for Walmart+ subscribers and Spark drivers.

“This decision is intended to better manage checkout availability.”

Similar Trends At Target

Walmart isn’t the only retailer considering limits on self-checkout. Target has also been reported to restrict the usage of self-checkout.

Concerns have been raised by Target customers on social media regarding the closure of self-checkout lanes and insufficient cashiers to handle the checkout process.


We are witnessing the downfall of target #target #targetfinds #targethaul

♬ original sound – But That’s My Opinion

However, a spokesperson from Target has stated that there haven’t been any alterations to its self-checkout policy.

RELATED: Woman Arrested After Drinking 6-Pack Of Beer In Target Dressing Room

Speculation Continues

It’s clear that speculation has arisen amidst the recent self-checkout issues, suggesting that companies are modifying access to their self-serve stations due to various factors. These include instances where customers forget to scan or pay for their items, as well as a perceived increase in shoplifting incidents.

However, according to Bohl, “We recognize theft and shrink are issues within the retail industry, but these decisions are made for a variety of different reasons.” These reasons may include customer foot traffic, shopping patterns, and/or feedback.

“I want to point out that this is not new, it’s not a new operating process. I feel like it stems from Reddit and social posts, and that’s why it’s bubbling up right now, but it’s not a new thing.”

Amid worries and discussions about self-checkout changes at big stores like Walmart and Target, there’s still hope for shoppers.

RELATED: Jelly Roll Surprises Fans At Walmart Before Show

Although these adjustments might be bothersome, it’s important to know they happen for reasons like managing how many customers are in the store and making things run smoother.

As Kelsey Bohl mentioned, these changes aren’t new and are just part of how stores keep things running well.

So, even though self-checkout might change, it’s a sign that stores want to make shopping better for everyone. Happy shopping!